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Open Thread: Your best tip on doing presentations

As I mentioned yesterday, I'll be leading a discussion on Tinderbox and "the trusted system" tomorrow. Probably running a few Keynote slides, but mostly just casually chatting with a small group of enthusiastic Tinderbox fans.

I'm not a seasoned public speaker by anyone's estimation, so I've made my share of rookie mistakes in the past (hint: avoid doing a rambling, overlong talk without slides at ETech; people get confused, hungry, and eventually want to defenestrate you).

So, as I prep myself for tomorrow, I turn to you guys:

What's your best presentation tip? What's the "never break it" rule for PowerPoint/Keynote decks? What's your favorite site, article, or link on great presentations? How do I get that Lessig-, Jobs-, or Veen-like fu that makes audiences so giddy? (Self-links are okay within reason here)

I'll be over here imagining people in their underwear, but I'd love to hear your best advice on this stuff.

Update 2005-11-19 21:37:26

I've posted the slides from my talk today along with links to some of the posts and cool applications I mentioned.

Summary: went well! Very enthusiastic group -- great questions and conversations. And no one threw rotten vegetables. Elin liked it, and that's good enough for me. :-)

TOPICS: Off Topic, Tips
Rick's picture

I think it helps for...

I think it helps for people to see an overview of your talk at the beginning and end and maybe at a few key points in between. Rather than forcing these overviews into a linear tool like Keynote, consider switching to OmniGraffle Pro. You can create hyperlinks from any object to any canvas. If you go back to the overview slide after each major section, people see how what you have just said fits into the overall structure.

This method makes it much easier to improvise. You can, for example, create a canvas that explains a semi-difficult term, and only use it if people look blank. If you get the sense early on that people aren't interested in your major section 1, you can jump to major section 2, without creating the sense that you're skipping anything.

If you don't want to change tools at this stage, make sure your slide 1 in Keynote links to all the major sections, and make sure the last slide in each section links back to slide 1.




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